Daily Archives: January 28, 2013

President says”Taiwan needs new submarines”

President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that Taiwan badly needs a new generation of submarines to beef up its naval fleet.

“Our existing submarines are all very old and need
renewal,” Ma said while meeting with a United States congressional delegation
headed by Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the U.S. House
Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Ma noted that Royce paid a visit to a naval
base in southern Taiwan Sunday and boarded the Guppy-class submarine “Sea

“We acquired that warship more than 40 years ago,” the 62-year-old
president said. “I happened to be serving my mandatory military service in the
Navy at the time, so you can imagine how badly we need to renew our submarine

The congressional delegation headed by Royce visited the Tsoying
naval base Sunday for a briefing and boarded two mine hunters that the U.S.
delivered to Taiwan last year after overhauling them.

Military spokesman
Luo Shou-he said naval authorities took advantage of Royce’s visit to stress
Taiwan’s desire to acquire new submarines to strengthen its maritime

In April 2001, then-U.S. President George W. Bush announced the
sale of eight conventional submarines as part of Washington’s most comprehensive
arms package for the island since 1992.

Since then, however, there has
been little progress in finalizing the deal.

Taiwan now has two
U.S.-built Guppy-class submarines and two Dutch-built Zwaardvis-class
submarines, which were acquired in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Ma told Royce
that Taiwan-U.S. relations were at a low ebb when he first took office in May
2008. At that time, he said, relations across the Taiwan Strait had also almost
come to a standstill.

“I worked proactively to improve the situation
immediately after assuming office,” Ma recalled.

In less than a month
following his inauguration, Ma said, institutionalized cross-strait talks were
resumed to pave the way for normal development of cross-strait

At the same time, Ma said, his administration has spared no
effort to restore mutual trust with the United States through a “low-key,
surprise-free” approach.

In October 2008, then-U.S. President George W.
Bush approved an arms sales package worth more than US$6 billion, Ma

Today, he said, Taipei-Washington ties are in their best shape in
more than three decades, and the Taiwan Strait is more stable and peaceful than
it has ever been since 1949, when the Republic of China government moved to

The U.S. delegation arrived in Taipei Saturday for a three-day
visit as part of a tour to East Asia.

Source – Focus Taiwan

French authorities clear Plymouth submarine over sinking off Cornish coast

The Royal Navy nuclear submarine Turbulent has been formally cleared of any involvement in the mystery sinking of a Breton trawler and the deaths of its five crew off the Lizard in Cornwall.

Nine years after the five fishermen died in the Bugaled Breizh tragedy, French authorities have finally ruled out the possibility that the British submarine was responsible.

Two expert reports have been published that dismiss a theory that HMS Turbulent, or any other submarine, could have been caught up in the trawler’s cables and dragged it down.

Despite questions in the House of Commons and assurances  by the Ministry of Defence that the submarine was docked at Plymouth on the day the Bugaled Breizh sank, a lawyer for French  families of the victims called for its captain Commander Andy Coles to be placed under investigation for manslaughter.


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Cdr Coles has repeatedly denied that his submarine was responsible for snagging the Bugaled’s trawl cables and dragging her below the waves in less than a minute.

A lawyer for the families had accused him and the Royal Navy of lying and claimed one mystery witness heard a “confession” by Cdr Coles and two others, neither of whom were ever named, had heard a radio message from the Turbulent saying she had suffered damage following a collision at the time of the accident and was returning to port.

A French journalist attempted to interview Commander Coles at his home in Devon last month. Commander Coles said he was unavailable but the journalist reported that the Commander’s wife had spoken to him and denied that her husband had anything to do with the sinking of the French trawler.

Now a report by a submarine specialist handed to judges investigating the accident has confirmed that HMS Turbulent was nowhere near the Bugaled Breizh  on January 15,  2004 when other submarines from Britain and other Nato countries were taking part in war games in the area where the trawler was sunk.

“On the basis of technical documents relating to the position of naval vessels at the time of the sinking, the specialist considers that the submarine accused of  involvement was definitely in port,” said Nantes  prosecutor Brigitte Lamy in a statement.

A second separate  report by experts commissioned by the judges casts doubt on the theory that the Bugaled fell victim to a submarine at all.

Traces of titanium found on salvaged trawl cables of the trawler “are not significative of the involvement of a submarine” as “apart from two Russian submarines built in the sixties the protective coating of submarines is exempt of any kind of titanium”, their report said.

The experts point out that paint containing titanium in dioxide form is widely used as protective coating for hulls of fishing vessels and submerged port equipment and suggest the titanium found on the trawl cables was caused by the Bugaled having come into contact with other fishing gear.

Families of the five lost fishermen who live in western Brittany close to the Bugaled Breizh’s home port of Loctudy have always believed that a submarine was responsible for the accident.

A year after the tragedy, a  judge accepted an initial report by marine experts who considered that because the Bugaled Breizh sank so rapidly, the culprit could only have been a nuclear submarine moving at high speed below the waves.

Source – This is Cornwall